BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Fort Madison’s Harlan Steffensmeier continues to dominate mat opponents this year as he pinned his way through the 138 lb. bracket at Saturday’s Fort Madison Invitational.
After getting a first-round bye, junior Steffensmeier who is 19-1 with 18 pins on the season pinned Noah Cunningham of Cedar Rapids Kennedy at 1:49 in round 2. He then methodically moved Julian Wikoff of New London around the mat and into a pin position at 1:35. The Hound then had a 12-0 lead over Austin Leopard of Louisa Muscatine before going ahead and pinning him with :04 seconds left in the second period. The championship was the Hounds only 1st place on the day
“That was some good competition for Harlan,” said head coach Ryan Smith. “That kid’s the No. 3 kid in 1A in the state and he pushed him a bit. But Harlan kept the pressure on him and built up a good lead before he pinned him.”
However, FMHS did get two second-place finishes starting with Ryan Steffensmeier at 113 lbs. Steffensmeier lost an 8-1 decision to Samuel Loyd of New London for the title. After a first round bye, Steffensmeier pinned Cody Calvelage of Louisa-Muscatine in :40 to advance the championship match.
Danen Settles had the other 2nd place finish on the day at 195. After a first round bye, Settles, just a freshman, recorded a major decision over Riley Silva of Mediapolis before running into Jason Salazar of Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson and lost by just a 10-8 decision.
Smith said Settles matches were some of his favorite to watch on the day.
“He was filling in for Sam Hayes at 195 and he just went out there and let things fly,” Smith said. “He really went out there and pushed things and I hope the other kids feed off that. Settles has been mostly wrestling jay-vee and he just did a really good job today. He was fun to watch.”
The next highest finish for the Hounds was Aaron Steffensmeier at 145 pounds. The junior lost in the first round to Dylan Ironside of Cedar Rapids Kennedy in a major decision 12-4 before rebounding with a win over Dylan LaLonde of West Burlington Notre Dame, 6-5 and then ran into Ironside again on the other side of the bracket losing again in another major decision, 8-0 good for 4th place.
“Aaron did really good job of battling hard at 14,” Smith said.
Diego Lozano also nailed down a 4th-place finish for the Hounds. Lozano, a freshman, lost to Hunter Connor of Louisa-Muscatine in the 3rd-4th place match in a fall at :33. Lozano had one of the more exciting matches of the day coming from behind against Garrett Brunson of Muscatine. After an injury break with right at a minute left in the 2nd period, Lozano turned the tables and got Brunson to the mat after an escape and was able to put Brunson’s shoulders on the mat. He won his first match of the day with a 7-5 decision over Jacob Byers of Council Bluffs.
Sophomore Elton Kruse had a busy day and battled his way back to a fifth-place finish at 106 lbs. after downing Jordan Riherd in the first round, taking advantage of a bye in the second round, falling to Ben Hoeger of Cedar Rapids Kennedy by pin at :31 and then pinning West Burlington-Notre Dame’s Riley at 1:52 for the fifth-place medal.
Freshman Nathan Steffensmeier also took a fifth-place medal on a bye in the final match. Steffensmeier started the day falling to Anthony Watson of Columbus Junction at :52, won on a bye in the next round before falling to Cauy Massner of Mediapolis with a pin at 1:09 and then moving into the fifth-place bye bracket.
Junior Skylar Schau took a sixth-place medal after capitalizing on a second round win over Quentin Story of Van Buren in a 5-0 decision. Schau then fell to Wayne Briggs of West Burlington-Notre Dame by fall at 1:54 before losing to Gage Connor of Van Buren by fall at 1:29 to get sixth place. Schau lost his first-round match to Zach Osborn of Mediapolis in a technical fall 16-0.
Another freshman Dalton Woolever secured another medal for the Hounds at 132. Woolever lost to another freshman Max Mashek of Louisa-Muscatine 7-5 in the 5th-6th place match. In the first round Woolever was able to dispatch of Mashek by a 6-0 decision before falling to Javis Krieger of New London at the 3:44 mark in the second round. Woolever then banged into Ceasar Salazar of Council Bluffs and was pinned in 40 secs. before the rematch with Mashek.
Jarrett Settles lost his first two matches at 160 lbs. by pinfall.
The Hounds are now off through the holiday break and resume with a home match against Washington on Jan. 5.